Good morning to all. I didn’t want to really put up a blog entry today, I am in between two fairly difficult shifts at work and was hoping to get some sleep. At the moment, I am also trying to get rid of a cold and losing my voice. Last night I had to work loading trucks for the Edmonton Opera for a Valentine’s Gala they put on. It was kind of neat to see all the people downtown dressed up either in tuxedos or military dress uniforms. Reminds me of all the neat things I used to do growing up, especially when I was in Air Cadets and it came time to have a formal dinner.
Funny how much of my life seems to make me think about Air Cadets. It was only 3 years literally 30 years ago but what an impact! In a few days I am going to go before a crowd of nursing students at a local University and tell them about my own lived experiences with psychosis. I learned the skills I need to do those sort of things in Cadets as well. It was a Thursday night when I was 14 and in grade nine at the junior high school across the street from my house. I was attending cadets that night while I was a patient in the General Hospital Psychiatric Ward in Edmonton and I hadn’t been to school in a couple of weeks, I had mostly spent my time avoiding any activity and reading a book I bought off the TV about the war in the Desert in WWII. This was when I was taking my toastmaster’s course and it was my turn to speak. I got up and was incredibly nervous. No surprise really, I had so little contact with any friends or people my age in the days preceding, I had literally forgotten how to be comfortable in front of people. I gave a talk about my collection of military uniforms and was so nervous I blushed crimson and couldn’t look anyone in the eye. It was funny because as I went further into the course, I ended up doing really well and learned many skills, but that night I was a wreck. Later I heard a friend telling another friend about how stupid I looked and it really made me feel awful.
I have been thinking about that night because I have been sick for over a week and have stayed home taking cold and flu pills and sleeping all day. This morning I had a meeting about an event some friends and I are setting up for The Edmonton Poetry Festival and I kept tripping on my tongue. I hope I get back into my groove by the 23rd when it comes time for my talk.
Aside from that, the nervousness and declining social skills I have experienced, things seem to be going pretty well. I have gotten negative news from a few sources about my writing, but I have also gotten some positive. I don’t know if any readers of this blog have read my first novel, “Green Mountain Road” but I ran into a friend at work who bought a copy of me and the other day he said I am a really good writer. This surprised me because I sent it off to be reviewed and the guy who reviewed at it tore it to pieces, he really didn’t like it, but my friend (Myron, a very interesting and well read dude) said I just have to not listen to that kind of thing. Good advice, but it seems that there is a thing about being mentally ill that makes things people tell you cut deep, or even perhaps just seem to be absolute, totally the truth. I had an experience in the University Hospital psychiatric ward quite a number of years ago where a lady kept saying things like, “I am going to go to sleep.” and then put up her finger to emphasize her point, “I haven’t slept in six months!” She said. It was weird how things would hit close to home.
Well, I don’t want to plug my own writing too much, but it would sure be great if I could get some sales going online. I have put so much into trying all different kinds of marketing for my books and what I have been finding is that advertising doesn’t seem to pay off for books. If I were selling houses that each cost $350,000.00 it would be great to advertise, I could spend $500 on a campaign that got just one sale because the value of one sale was so high. But a while back I spent $500 on a blog tour that literally didn’t get me one single sale, not even in ebooks. If I had gotten ten it would have still been a disaster. It is frustrating because I love writing so much, it gives me such a good feeling. Each day I look forward to sitting down and writing this blog and it is a great feeling when I look at my stats page and see that my site got 15 views today and so on. My latest attempt at fame is to get a distributor, I am going to be working with a company called Red Tuque Books and I am sincerely hoping it helps me go somewhere with my self-published books, though I don’t even know if they will accept my work.
I am really curious how well my book, “Through The Withering Storm” would do with nation wide distribution because it seems to have done really well in all my books signings and even on amazon.com it has gotten about ten independent reviews with an average rating of 4.5 stars out of 5. I think I must have sold close to 300 copies of the book (though likely a number of those were giveaways and promotional copies). One of the things that never ceases to amaze me is that I can take that book, as I have just tonight, and start reading it from any point and actually enjoy my own writing. I guess that means I can’t be all that bad a writer. But, with that, seeing as it is nearly 5:00 am and I have to be at work in 5 hours, I think I will leave off there. As always, emails and comments are greatly appreciated. Passing around the site address and all that would also be great as I plan to start doing some giveaways of my books soon when I can get more people involved in this blog. All the best Dear readers, stay real! email@example.com